Seeing the writing on the wall, even Coun. Donovan Cavers didn’t vote for his own motion Tuesday.
Cavers followed up on a notice of motion from last week that called for development cost charges to be levied on recreation facilities, fire protection and policing.
Currently, developers pay DCCs to go toward roads, water, sewer and other infrastructure to help cover the cost of growth related to their construction.
Cavers wanted the Union of B.C. Municipalities to lobby Victoria to amend the Local Government Act that would allow cities and regional districts to expand the areas where DCCs could be used.
The growth and expansion that new home construction indicates also means there’s more need for services such as police and fire and recreation, he said.
While some council members said they understood Cavers’ point, they wouldn’t jump on board with his cause.
Coun. Tina Lange said the City has a great relationship with builders and developers, who contribute to the community. They charge $10,000 per new home already, she said.
“I don’t want to rock that boat."
Coun. Marg Spina also disagreed with raising DCCs and noted that people from out of town don’t pay any more than local residents to use recreation facilities and other amenities. And the federal and provincial governments often contribute grants to those facilities as well.
“To ask one group, the developers, to cough up more because someone from another area of the city or another town wants to use our facilities, that just wouldn't fly.”
Coun. Pat Wallace boiled it down: “I believe the perception would be we're sticking it to the developers and I don't think that's what we're trying to say. If this passed, we'd see our building stats at zero. I don't think someone would drive another nail here.”
Cavers said he’d like to see it explored at a provincial level. Growth for its own sake isn’t as popular an idea as it once was, and research shows there’s a point where newcomers put a burden on residents who are already settled in a community.
Coun. Nancy Bepple agreed with his idea of limited growth, but also said the City isn’t required to provide pools, rinks or even fire service beyond inspections. She felt the official community plan would be the place to deal with growth impacts in those areas.
When Mayor Peter Milobar weighed in, saying DCCs are a complicated formula already and this would add more layers, Cavers caved.
He offered to withdraw his motion, but Milobar said it would be better to have a vote to get it dealt with.
So all of council, including Cavers, voted against the motion.